Increased lockdown restrictions are now expected to come into effect on Christmas Day as the Cabinet discusses measures to slow the spread of Covid-19.
It is understood that the new restrictions will affect the hospitality sector, with bars and restaurants forced to close once again just three weeks after re-opening.
It was expected that gastro-pubs and restaurants would be able to remain open until 30 December, but this is expected to be brought forward by one week due to an increase in cases.
The Cabinet is also discussing whether to ban inter-county travel starting on the 27th, but non-essential retail could stay open under the new measures, which will be announced tomorrow.
There are reports that some ministers are acting as if the British variant of COVID-19 is already in the country, as around 30,000 people have travelled here from Britain in the past two weeks.
If the Cabinet approves new new restrictions, the country will have had just over three weeks between lockdowns.
More to follow…